4 Ways to Define True Success

Photo Courtesy of the author/CrowzArt Designs

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on January 11, 2017.

I was born at the beginning of what is known as Generation X.  Growing up, my idea of success centered around acquiring and achieving stuff.  I wanted a well-paying career, a nice home, a fine car (a Benz or a BMW was a must), be able to afford annual vacations to some Caribbean island, and in general living a life of luxury.  Oh sure, I wanted a family (in the 1980s, the average family had 2.5 kids so that is what I imagined), but that always took a backseat to my career aspirations.  I thought happiness was about acquiring more stuff.  The more stuff you had, the happier you were. Continue reading “4 Ways to Define True Success”

4 Ways That Becoming a Parent Made Me a Better Leader

African American Father and son spending time together.
Photo courtesy of iStock.com/pixelheadphoto

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on November 30, 2016.

Like all working parents, I have sometimes struggled with balancing my responsibilities to an employer versus my responsibilities as a parent; however, make no mistake – my responsibilities as a parent will always come first.  Like most men, I initially assumed my role in life was to be a provider for my family.  When I looked at various career fields, my primary criteria was potential income instead of where I could best serve.  After college and a tour of duty in the military, I started my career in the technology field and quickly rose through the ranks.  Soon I was in management with ever increasing levels of responsibility.  From the outside, I was on a very successful career path but on the inside, I was searching for my purpose.  I was successful as a manager but had yet to learn the true meaning of leadership. Continue reading “4 Ways That Becoming a Parent Made Me a Better Leader”

Leaders Molding Leaders

Leadership concept on cork board. Wooden office desk with a big mess
Photo courtesy of iStock.com/tumsasedgars

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on October 19, 2016.

As a leader, it is good to occasionally take time out to reflect on the impact that you have on those who surround you.  During difficult moments, sometimes leaders get down on themselves and think that what they are doing (or trying to do) doesn’t matter.  Well, I’m here today to say that you matter; not just for the moment but also for the legacy that you are leaving behind. Continue reading “Leaders Molding Leaders”

An Example of Servant Leadership

Diane and Melanie KW Austin
Diane Johnson, Melanie Kennemann, and Jim Kennedy/Photo courtesy of Melanie Kennemann

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on September 7, 2016.

My family moved to Austin, Texas four years ago to take advantage of educational opportunities for my special needs daughter.  Although I continued to commute back to the Washington, DC area for work, I knew that at some point, I would need to be in Austin on a full-time basis.  I wanted to transition to a career that would give me the flexibility to be a fully involved parent as well as the opportunity to chart my own path. Continue reading “An Example of Servant Leadership”

Reinventing Work/Life Balance

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This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on August 31, 2016.

An increasing number of organizations are rethinking the concept of work/life balance.  During the US economic recession of 2007-2009, companies found new ways of doing more with less.  The advancement of technology meant that a number of jobs that were abolished during that time are never coming back.  Technology advancements also furthered the concept that an employee is never really off the clock.  The American Psychological Association reported that more people are working on weekends, during vacations and even while they are out sick.  Researchers are reporting that the line between work and home has effectively been blurred and workers are reporting more cases of burnout due to chronic job stress. Continue reading “Reinventing Work/Life Balance”

Three Keys to Achieving Excellence

Perfectly striped freshly mowed garden lawn in summer
Courtesy iStock.com/maximkabb

We have all heard the term “believe it and you will achieve it.”  History is full of examples where this has proven to be true.  During the U.S. Civil War, the Union and Confederate Armies were preparing for what is now known as the Battle of Shiloh.  Confederate troops, led by General Albert Sidney Johnston, were seeking to drive the Union invaders from their stronghold in southwestern Tennessee. Continue reading “Three Keys to Achieving Excellence”

Moving Forward

Cute little girl learning to swim with coach at the leisure center
Courtesy iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

We all have a purpose.  It may not be to lead a nation, but it could be to simply lead a child.  One thing that is certain and that is:  whatever the purpose, there will be challenges in your path.  Our job is to grow as leaders so that we may fulfill our purpose.  In a recent interview with Complex Magazine, Tony Robbins said that one of the secrets to his success is that he never stops trying to improve.  “Either you grow or you die.”  Truer words were never spoken. Continue reading “Moving Forward”

Four Leadership Lessons From A Special Needs Parent

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on July 26, 2016.

I can remember it like it happened yesterday.  My wife was pregnant with triplets and was in the 24th week of pregnancy.  She was in the hospital on bedrest when her placenta ruptured.  I received a page with those three dreaded numbers – 911.  I got to the hospital just after my wife went into surgery.  Over the next few minutes, I saw three isolettes being wheeled from the surgical suite with my very tiny new babies to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  Soon, my wife was able to recover, but my life rapidly turned upside down. Continue reading “Four Leadership Lessons From A Special Needs Parent”